MORE THAN 70,000 members of PCS who work for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs(HMRC) began being balloted on Monday 7th January for a one day strike followed by an overtime ban over office closures and job cuts.
Members are being asked to support the stoppage expected to be on the 31st January, which is the deadline for self assessment tax returns, as the department ploughs on with office closures and job cuts, despite services deteriorating and problems such as the recent data loss.
Offices at the heart of communities servicing the public and business are closing across the country as the department plough ahead with plans to close up to 250 offices and to slash 25,000 jobs by 2011.
With 13,000 jobs gone and a further 12,500 planned to go by 2011 the union warned that the department was in danger of serious service failure.
The union also warned that as jobs have been cut the department has increasingly relied on remaining staff working overtime and private consultants to mask the immediate impact of job losses.
The union is also angry that HMRC plans to privatise the remaining security guard work at a dozen sites across Britain, some of which store seized contraband.
Commenting, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “With office closures and 13,000 job cuts to date, the department is already running on empty resulting in deteriorating services. It is lunacy for HMRC to plough ahead with closing over 250 offices and to cut a further 12,500 jobs by 2011.
“As HMRC’s own staff survey indicates morale is dangerously low. These are some of the most loyal staff, responsible for collecting taxes to build schools and hospitals, securing our borders and overseeing the payment of tax credits. HMRC cannot deliver a quality service in the face of continued arbitrary cuts and the government and the department need to recognise that HMRC needs to be properly resourced and staffed if public confidence is to be restored.”